3 Pieces of Art

Lately I've been really into buying art. Not fancy pants stuff but stuff I just love. Today I was looking through the coffee table book of Steve McCurry photographs (his Afghani girl with green eyes photo is perhaps one of the most well known photos ever) and was just amazed at how I can like many photos, can appreciate the technique and value of others and then there are just a few that almost made my head buzz I like them so much.

Last summer I walked around the Bellevue Arts fair, which takes up the mall parking garage for a long weekend every summer and came away with two strong emotions: first, I just want my life to be full of beautiful things. And second, a sort of desperation at how expensive it can be. (Side note: I wonder if modern tools and technology have made making really wonderful art more accessible and affordable. I imagine so. There's just so much crap out there too)

There's this feeling when you find a piece of art you love that honestly feels like love. It may sound overly dramatic but it really is true. It doesn't happen often, but when it does there's this feeling of completeness, if only for a moment. I'm sure there's some quote from the Goldfinch about it, which I read recently, something about how you see this beautiful thing and get lost in it. It makes you happy or sad or confused or whatever. I get back to reality pretty quick, but that moment is memorable.

Purchases of late:

1. Rising by Robert Tandecki
This was one I saw at the Bellevue Arts Fair last year. Loved it. Knew Porter would love it, and talked myself out of buying it. I thought about it enough times that I tracked down the guy down and bought it from his house in Sumner. Felt very shady, even though it wasn't.

The orca is Porter's spirit animal. The mountains are his inspiration. And he lives for the sea. And it sure does look nice.

2. Pancakes by Pascal Campion
I follow Pascal's daily sketches on Instagram (as should everyone, I say). He is a genius with color and depicting moments, usually around family life and cities that are entirely relatable. Some of my favorites show a kid staring up at the sky, a series of activity in a kitchen, and a potty training celebration.

I bought this one because one, Pascal was having an Instagram followers sale where I saved like four bucks, and two, this is so me and Porter. The light. The energy. The smiles that match Porter's and mine when I just want to kiss him hard and he's in the middle of doing something productive.

Pancakes by PascalCampion

3. Melancholy by Edward Degas
I saw this at a museum once, I can't remember where, but I remember it was on a dark blue wall and I kept coming back to it. Melancholy, I think, is one of the most potent emotions. Even though the way I experience it, it almost feels like a non-emotion. Difficult to articulate but it is easy to identify. I can track emotional times in my life by memorable bouts of melancholy.

So I loved it like I haven't many pieces of art hanging in museums and I think about it sometimes even when not feeling melancholy, there's something so familiar about her expression. So I bought it. And now I own it. And I can look at it whenever I want.

Melancholy - Edgar Degas


3 Things that made Jamie's night

Tonight the kid woke up at 10 pm ready to PARTY. Apparently what I thought sad goodnight til morning was just s power nap, saving energy for:

1. Split Jerk

No joke. It's a crossfit move: Jump, lift up arms (or a barbell if you are doing it for real), land in a lunge. Don't think I get it of shy people do it, but I asked Porter about arm workouts and was showing me the move and Jamie just about lost it! He hasn't laughed much yet. Lots of smiling (and I mean lots), with a few mini giggles here and there. Usually if he's really getting a kick out of something he does that silent laugh where you don't breathe. It's cute, but unsettling (not unlike hid tendency for panting when he's excited and wheezing for fun). But man, a split squat thing and he was in stitches? Of course now I'm sure Jamie is destined for Crossfit competitions.

2. My baggy camo sleep shirt
Jamie's been doing this thing lately where he grabs something tight, holds it out and up, and ... Growls. Grunts? It's a bit like Tim the Toolman Taylor but longer, more animal-like, and the sentiment more reminiscent of man's celebration of making fire. It's primal joy, I guess. Tonight my shirt brought out the caveman, which was nice for the copious amounts of spit-up that followed the late night mania.

3. Porter's German accent
Let's get real, my husband has a mildly impressive repertoire of accents from around the world, varying in accuracy and his ability to stay in character without getting weird. His German guy is pretty great, and tonight probably prompted by Jamie's future as a Crossfit heckler. He's all Arnold a la Kindergarten Cop, which is my favorite Arnold, mostly because I've never seen the Terminator, I don't live in California, and I have a vague notion from checkout stand magazines that he cheated on Maria Shriver and fathered kid out of wedlock but he kept it a secret for years. Kind of like Caleb and the redhead girl in the OC.

Tangent! Jamie loved the accent. As do I, so we both had a good time tonight.


3 Things I Don't Feel Bad About

As it turns out, the world of motherhood is rife with guilt. There's a lot of hoo ha talk about how moms need to let other moms make their own decisions, but even still, there's a giant economic machine of baby crap to buy and forums full of anonymous posters and parents themselves who are looking for validation for their own decisions because, as it turns out, no one really knows what the crap they are doing.

More on that, I'm sure.

But there are three things I feel pretty great about (most of the time) and no amount of smug, passive-aggressive or well-meaning commentary can make me feel bad.

1. I will breastfeed where I need to.

No, I will not strip down and flash my boob, nor will I throw a tantrum if it looks like I'm making someone uncomfortable. I will make accommodations for situations where it may be less appropriate for the flash of nipple that's bound to make an appearance to be inappropriate or a distraction. I will be as discreet as I can be while not making myself or my baby inordinately uncomfortable. And I will nurse where I am. This includes, but is not limited to the dinner table, a sitting room, an airplane seat, a public bench, a public beach, among a group of friends, with a group of acquaintances, amidst a group of strangers. I can and will excuse myself quietly when I am uncomfortable nursing in a given situation. I don't need fanfare, sympathy, or an approving nod. 

2. I will sit and snuggle

Best advice I received about the first bit (especially coming off a fairly hectic schedule, and having sit around and do nothing guilt to begin with) is to soak it up. Soak up the tiny body, the tiny sounds, and the fleeting time your baby weighs less than a bowling ball. I will not feel guilty for not cleaning, walking visitors to the door, doing something productive, getting starting on getting back the pre-baby bod (barf!). I will not even feel guilty for not getting out and enjoying sunshine or tending to personal hygiene. 

I see it in the wistful eyes of every stranger who I pass, so many of whom comment, almost painfully nostalgic, 'OH, I remember those days. The way my baby just curled into my chest, and stretched, and yawned, and stared, and grew. Breathe him in.' 

3. I want to work... but not that much.

I struggle most with not feeling bad about this conflict, even though I've read a number of studies that confirm that most women feel this way, but so many women evangelize staying home as if it is the only life to strive for. And women who work full time defend it to the point of pushiness, as if not working full time is turning back the clock on women's rights.

But I love working. I love my job. I love the time away from my baby and the socialization that comes with it. I'm good at what I do and want to get better. But it's not my life. And I want to be home. To not be harried and to not need to plan the minutes of my day so carefully. 

I don't begrudge those who work more or less than me (unless they make me feel bad for my own balance). I'm lucky to get to have what I feel like is the best of both worlds, and until that luck runs out, I'll take advantage. 

Snuggle photo dump!